Goodnight, sweet Wii, you still own my gaming heart

Nintendo may be saying sayonara to the original Wii, but Crave writer Amanda Kooser plans to ride off into the gaming sunset with her trusty console by her side.

Wii system
My Wii as it appears today. Amanda Kooser/CNET

I'm feeling a little sad today. Nintendo on Monday officially consigned the Wii to the gaming console history bin , to join its brethren like the NES and Nintendo 64. The company is halting production to focus fully on the Wii's replacement, the Wii U. I understand that time and technology march onward, but I'm not quite ready to kiss my Wii goodbye.

I still remember hunting for my Wii. It was released in 2006 and the demand almost immediately caused shortages nearly on par with the great Cabbage Patch Doll scare of 1983. I trolled sites that tracked in-stock Wii consoles before finally lucking upon my own Wii from Sears in early 2007.

I was mostly a computer gamer up to that point, though I had played on borrowed consoles at friends' houses. I suppose I got caught up in the frenzy surrounding the Wii interface. It just looked like so much more fun than a static, button-masher of a controller.

Metroid Prime Samus
Metroid Prime: This is what I'm currently playing on the Wii. (Click to enlarge.) Nintendo

When I first met the Wii, it was a curiosity. I made a mini-me Wii avatar and bowled and boxed against my friends. That was OK for a while, but it didn't really satisfy my deeper gaming longings. Then Resident Evil 4 came along, and suddenly I was perched on the edge of my couch, battling creepy chainsaw guys with sacks on their heads. Gaming came alive for me in a way I hadn't felt before.

Sure, I could get a thrill from an Xbox, a PlayStation, or a desktop, but the physicality of wielding the Wii control, Wiimote in one hand and nunchuk in the other, is what made the Wii so thrilling for me. It was the adult version of an imaginary sword. I lopped off heads in No More Heroes, painted kanji in Okami, and took over New York in Godfather: Blackhand Edition.

My Wii adventure hasn't ended with the halt of production in Japan. My Wii is still here, just dustier and a little fussy with reading game discs on occasion. While most Wii owners haven't touched their devices in eons, I use mine at least weekly, sometimes for Netflix, but mostly to play games. I still thoroughly enjoy revisiting my favorites, pushing speed runs through Resident Evil 4, and taking fresh romps through The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

I purposely held off from the Metroid series for a moment like this. I have the entire Metroid Prime sci-fi trilogy to play through. Now, it's just me and my Wii, rediscovering our friendship. It's like old times. I'm cursing the lack of save points, gleefully jumping the Morph Ball with my Wiimote, and having a blast as Samus. If the Wii is going to go out, at least I'm going to send it out in style.

I understand the criticism the Wii has taken over the years. People say it's not a hard-core gaming platform, and it's true that a lot of really great games passed the system over. They say it's made for families and kids, like that's supposed to be a bad thing. It was also made for people like me who needed a console to capture both their bodies and their imagination. I still believe there are enough great games on the platform to earn it a place of regard in console history.

Will the Wii and I be best gaming buds forever? Probably not. I'm looking forward to immersive VR experiences some day. Until then, the Wii is what I'll turn to when I need to let off a little steam after a long day. Nintendo may have given up on the Wii, but I haven't.

 

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